Chicago Food Trucks Could be Cooking by July

Chicago Food Trucks Could be Cooking by July

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CHICAGO, IL - Chicago’s food trucks may soon get to cook on board, but they’ll face major parking restrictions, limitations on the number of trucks, steeper licensing fees and hefty fines for breaking the rules, according to one of two proposed ordinance drafts.

The city’s department of Business and Consumer Protection will host a meeting today at 4 p.m. with food truck operators to preview the two versions; a new ordinance drafted from the mayor’s office and revision of the ordinance originally introduced in July 2010 by Ald. Scott Waguespack and former Ald. Vi Daley.

Mr. Waguespack has written a substitute ordinance with Ald. Tom Tunney and Ald. Brendan Reilly. He told Crain’s that the mayor’s office based its version on the revised draft.

While the original food truck ordinance has been in limbo for nearly two years, a new law could be introduced for a vote at Wednesday’s full city council meeting. If approved, the new rules could be in place within 10 days.

Among the revisions: Trucks will be able to prepare food on board with a variety of food handling and sanitation rules. But they will be limited to no more than 200 “mobile food preparer” licenses and another 90 supplemental such licenses. Each truck also will be monitored by a global positioning system tracking device.

There also will be three “mobile food truck loading zones.” The first: Addison St. to Chicago Ave. and Halsted St. to Western Ave. The second will extend from Lake Michigan to Ashland Ave to Diversey Ave. to Irving Park Rd. The third: Lake Michigan to Des Plaines St. and North Ave. to Jackson Blvd.

Truckers will still face a 200-foot restriction on parking near a food establishment that offers similar service.

Trucks will be limited to operating for two hours within a 24-period at any of the designated parking areas. They’ll face fines of $1,000 to $1,500 for a first offense and up to $2,500 and revocation for a third offense. In each of the food truck loading zones, trucks will be limited to between five and 10 stands in each loading zone.

Fees will include $275 for a mobile food dispenser license, $1,000 for a mobile food preparer license and another $2,500 for a supplemental food preparer license.

Mr. Waguespack said that both the substitute ordinance and the Mayor’s ordinance are similar in limits with both versions defending the Illinois Restaurant Association positions. The mayor’s version has a larger area for high density licenses, he said in an email.

“It’s all close enough to get this thing done and passed so the food trucks will finally be able to operate like everyone else,” he said.

Amy Le, owner of the Duck N Roll truck, called the restrictions in the aldermen’s version “worse” than the current restrictions. “To be able to survive a Chicago winter, we have to be able to go in front of office buildings and not be in an isolated area.”

Find the original article at Crain’s Chicago <here>

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